Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Good bye, good bye!

For the first time in an age, I’m Into a book. I’ve got that particular feeling – a strange, dazed sort of weightlessness that is instantly recognisable, but so rare nowadays. And it’s brilliant to have it back.

I’m reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Anne Burrows - romping through it would be more accurate, since I only started it today. It’s only a little book, but it is so wonderfully evocative, of an era and a place and a set of characters you feel you know, that I felt like I was in that world. And I know that I won’t want it to end, which is my measure for a good book. Not the style of the writing or the fame of the author or the, *shudder*, originality of the story. Just the creation of a world which I don’t want to leave.

I think it’s one of the reasons why I struggle with many “classics”. It’s not that they’re not good, or that I don’t recognise the quality of the writing; it’s just that they’re written differently to how I like my books. For me, something like Dickens is Observation, not Immersion, and while I am happy to Observe, it’s nothing on that feeling of knowing a world or a set of characters so well that you carry them with you when you put the book down, like holiday memories. It’s not losing yourself, quite – rather, losing your surroundings. You are there – that’s what makes it so good.

All my favourite books are like that – my real favourites, the ones that are dog-eared and decayed. Coming Home, by Rosamund Pilcher, was like that; The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, by Eva Rice; David Eddings’ Belgariad and Mallorean. And every time, it’s a wrench when they end.

So yes, glee and happiness, and I can’t wait til I have the time to read again…

Four more work days! Four! Then freedom!

Friday, 29 May 2009

Finals Filler: Look at my old university isn't it GREAT?

hahahaha oh CAMBRIDGE, never change!

This Monday, 1st June, at 8.15am in the Chapel, there will be a celebration of Holy Communion according to the Book of Common Prayer 1662 in LATIN. All are welcome to attend this service, which is our right (under the rules noted below) and for which we are keeping the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (transferred from 31st May).

The Dean.

The Rule:
Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion XXIV. Of Speaking in the Congregation
in such a Tongue as the people understandeth.

It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church to have public Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understanded of the people.

Canon B42 of the Church of England: Authorized forms of service may be said or sung in Latin in ...Chapels and other public places in university colleges and halls.

Uh-maaaaaaazing. I love the defensiveness of LOOK WE CAAAAN SPEAK IN LATIN LOOK LOOK. Also that this is quite a lot of what my exam is about on Monday. Brilliant. :D

PS My exam today was fine. Could have been better (I think my essay was pretty bland and unnuanced which is irritating because I know I can do better) but it wasn't a disaster and that's all that matters!

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Sweet Jesus





I am so not old enough to be doing FINALS omg what.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Finals Filler: A Conversation

Ellie, just now, reading one of my poetry anthologies:

God, who starts a poem with I love thee, Baby, honestly?


Oh, it's to an actual baby. Right. And it's Shelley.

Don't know why but it made me laugh...

Finals Filler: Too Clever By Half

Two friends of mine wrote these two emails to our college housekeeper at the end of last term. Insufferable, but also hilarious.

The first email is an attempt to persuade her that while it is against the rules to keep a bicycle in your room, nowhere do the rules state that you cannot keep the COMPONENTS of a bike. The second - well, you'll see.

Dear [Housekeeper],

My bedder has told me that, in light of the forthcoming room inspections, I must remove my bicycle from my room, where it is currently stored, and place it in the bike sheds. The bike rests in three parts: a frame, a fork, drive-train and handlebar composition being detached from the two wheels. Samuel Taylor Coleridge said that 'the whole is everything, and the parts are nothing'. Never has this been truer than in today's holistic bicycle market, in which bulk manufacturing has replaced products of individual labour. Furthermore, as a keen cyclist yourself, I trust you will appreciate the innumerable difficulties involved in undertaking a long journey on a vehicle without wheels.

Best wishes,


To which the head porter replied, 'Very funny. But if you have anything remaining in your room which could possibly be construed to make up, or to once have made up, a bicycle, you'll be fined, as per the rules.'

And the second:

Dear [Housekeeper],

Since the beginning of the year, there has been a grotesque marking on the window in my room which overlooks Rose Crescent. I would be very grateful if this could be cleaned at the earliest convenience. Goethe wrote that 'it is only the light of heaven that shines pure and leaves no stain'. Had Goethe gazed out through the window of G-, [Residence], marred as it is by a transgressing milkshake from the McDonalds below, how much stronger would he have been in his conviction? Seeing as I will be in this room next year too, I would be very grateful for this to be accomplished, so that I too can be strengthened by the pure light of heaven as I go about my daily tasks.

With thanks, and best wishes,


Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Final's Filler: Irony, methinks?

Via, something silly to make you laugh:

Monday, 18 May 2009

Finals Filler: The Appeal of History

Because this counts as work...

The appeal of history to us all is in the last analysis poetic. But the poetry of history does not consist of imagination roaming at large, but of imagination pursuing the fact and fastening upon it. That which compels the historian to 'scorn delights and live laborious days' is the ardour of [her] own curiosity to know what really happened long ago in that land of mystery which we call the past. To peer into that magic mirror and see fresh figures there every day is a burning desire that consumes and satisfies [her] all [her] life, that carries [her] each morning, eager as a lover, to the library and the muniment room. It haunts [her] like a passion of terrible potency, because it is poetic. The dead were and are not. Their place knows them no more, and is ours today. Yet they were once as real as we, and we shall tomorrow be shadows like them ... The poetry of history lies in the quasi-miraculous fact that once, on this earth, once, on this familiar spot of ground, walked other men and women, as actual as we are today, thinking their own thoughts, swayed by their own passions, but now all gone, one generation vanishing into another, gone as utterly as we ourselves shall shortly be gone, like ghosts at cockcrow.

-The historian G.M. Trevelyan, with whom I often disagree, but who indubitably had a way with words.